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Video Game / Natsuki Chronicles

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Natsuki Chronicles is a 2019 horizontal-scrolling shooter for the Xbox One. It is a spin-off of Ginga Force focusing on Natsuki Sugiura, who originally appeared in the latter game as a boss character.

The game serves as both a Prequel and a P.O.V. Sequel to Ginga Force, showing Natsuki's early missions at the Rapid Deployment Force, or RDF for short, to her defeat at the hands of Alex and Margaret and her eventual Heel–Face Turn.

The game was released for Playstation 4 and PC (via Steam) on February 18th, 2021. The Steam release can be bought here.

Natsuki Chronicles provides examples of:

  • Arrange Mode: Arcade Mode, which turns the game into a more conventional "play a sequence of stages" game. Story elements like character dialogue are removed. Instead of buying and equipping weapons beforehand, you simply collect weapon pick-ups to upgrade and swap out your weapons, although they will only provide upgrades and swaps when you have a full set of regular shields, otherwise they will just refill your shield meter one bar at a time. Upgrading and changing weapons also adds to youe EX Shields, and losing EX Shields will cause you to lose weapon upgrades. Conveniently, this mode skips Stage 7, a Gimmick Level that uses an intentionally clumsy ship.
  • Big Bad: Maroon is the true antagonist.
  • Big Damn Heroes: As it turns out, after being defeated by Alex and Margaret, Natsuki barely survived because Specia took control of her ship while Natsuki blacked out and landed it safely after being damaged.
  • Big "NO!": Maroon, when defeated.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Front Vulcan and Rear Vulcan weapons, including their upgraded variants, aren't the flashiest weapons in your arsenal, but they're good for almost any situation. The Front Vulcan simply fires out a steady stream of bullets in front with two more angled thinner streams, while the Rear Vulcan fires at angles behind you, and directly behind you if firing your main weapon at the same time.
  • Boss-Only Level:
    • The aforementioned battle with Alex and Margaret consists of this.
    • Much like Ginga Force, the final stage consists of a boss battle with Maroon.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Early on in the game, one of the flashbacks that serves as a Justified Tutorial is on how to operate heavy vehicles. Natsuki uses one in Stage 7 to try to capture Alex's and Margaret's ship. Also a Call-Forward to her boss fight in Ginga Force.
  • Climax Boss: Alex and Margaret in Stage 7. It's the battle just before the introductory "Turning Point" cutscene, the emotional tension is high due to Natsuki having to fight her friend, and the aftermath kick-starts Natsuki's Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Dragon: While the Big Bad here, Maroon is this to Viridian.
  • Dueling Player Characters: Stage 7 is the boss fight of Ginga Force Chapter 7, only from the boss (Natsuki)'s perspective this time.
  • Foregone Conclusion: When you fight Alex and Margaret in Stage 7, you already know Natsuki is going to lose, because that's precisely what happens in the "Turning Point" cutscene that you saw at the very start of the game and which is next in line on the timeline menu. You still have to survive the fight up to a certain point, however, or the mission won't count as completed.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Hand Waved in Stage 6, where you have to escort a train to its destination. The train is protected from your attacks thanks to an "IFF field", although it doesn't explain why it's also immune to enemy attacks.
  • Gameplay Grading: At the end of the stage, you are given a letter grade based on your Rating, which you accumulate by destroying enemies, destroying whole enemy formations, defeating the boss quickly, avoiding damage, and finishing the stage. You get graded whether you complete or fail the stage, hence the last bonus.
  • Genre Shift: The spiritual series that started with Judgement Silversword uses an overhead vertically-scrolling perspective up until Ginga Force. This game, on the other hand, uses a side-scrolling perspective.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Viridian to Maroon. While Viridian never shows up in this game, Maroon answers to him and knows about Alex and Margaret's rebellion against him.
  • Harder Than Hard: This game features an Extreme mode.
  • Hate Sink: Maroon is pretty clearly meant to be hated by the player, as he orders Natsuki to kill multiple enemies who are simply protesting unjust conditions on Seventia, and makes it a point that "feelings aren't part of your job." Fortunately, you get to kill him in the final stage.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: If you run out of shield and get destroyed prematurely in Stage 7, it's game over as usual. If you survive up to a certain point in the fight, Natsuki gets defeated by Alex and Margaret, just like in Ginga Force. It's impossible to actually capture their ship. That said, you are still ranked on this stage and minimizing damage while hitting their ship with as many capture shots as possible is required to achieve a good rank.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After Natsuki learns the truth about the Magni Company from Margaret, Natsuki immediately changes her ways and begins rebelling as well.
  • How We Got Here: The game begins with Natsuki's defeat in Ginga Force and the first few missions are the events leading up to it.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: The game takes place during the events of Ginga Force, as it shows Natsuki dealing with Maroon after she finds out the real reason why Alex and Margaret went rogue, while Alex and Margaret deal with Viridian.
  • Mercy Mode: As you play each stage repeatedly, your Stage Study level for it builds up, giving you more EX Shields with which to try the stage next time. What makes it this trope is that you can earn stage EXP even if you fail the mission, so if the default number of shields isn't enough, then perhaps putting on a few EX Shields can help you complete it.
  • Multiple Endings: Like Ginga Force, the ending depends on what difficulty you played the game on.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the terrorist groups you face is called Mirror Shield. In this game's third-degree Spiritual Predecessor Judgement Silversword, two of the bosses you fight are called Mirror Shields.
  • Obviously Evil: Maroon shows signs of being a Treacherous Advisor early on, ordering Natsuki to kill her targets regardless of their sympathetic motives or if she manages to neutralize them. Natsuki ends up dueling against him in a final showdown in Chapter 10 after realizing that the Magni Corporation is corrupt.
  • Perspective Flip: Stage 7 is Ginga Force Chapter 7, but from Natsuki's point of view.
  • Scoring Points: Scoring has been made simpler than in Ginga Force; you simply need to destroy enemies, and you gain bonus points when defeating whole formations. You get a bonus if you complete the stage, dependent on how quickly you defeated the boss. There is also the Rating system, which ranks you based on enemy destruction percentage, formation destruction percentage, how few hits you took, how quickly you defeat the boss, and whether you clear the stage or not; Ratings are used to determine your letter rank.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Most of the bosses you face come across as this, as they are rebelling against the Magni Company. Alex and Margaret have already followed suit at this point, and so does Natsuki.
  • Villain Protagonist: Natsuki, before her Heel–Face Turn; her missions are spent putting down resistance groups with legitimate grievances and killing their leaders.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: After defeating Magenta, Natsuki has this to say:
    Natsuki: Yet another unnecessary death to add to this mess.